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Chapter 4: The Dead Man’s Answer

Mamiya later became a well-known teacher, but while he was studying under a master he was asked to explain the sound of one hand clapping.

Although Mamiya worked hard at it his master said to him one day, “You are not working hard enough. You are too attached to food, wealth, things - and that sound. It would be better if you died.”

The next time Mamiya came before the master, he was again asked what he had to show regarding the sound of one hand clapping. Mamiya at once fell over as if he was dead.

“You are dead all right,” said the master, “but how about that sound?”

Looking up Mamiya replied, “Oh, I haven’t solved that one yet.”

“What?” roared the master, “Dead men don’t speak. Get out!”

The absurd is needed to bring you out of your mind, because mind is reasoning. Through reasoning you cannot come out of it. Through reasoning you will move and move, but you will move in a circle.

That is what you have been doing for many lives. One thing leads to another, but the “another” is as much a part of the circle as the first. You feel that you are moving because there is change, but you are following a circle. You go on moving about and about, around and around - you cannot get out of it. The more you reason how to get out, the more you create systems, techniques, methods how to get out, the more you become entangled into it. Because the basic problem is: reasoning cannot bring you out because reasoning is the very phenomenon that you are in.

Something irrational is needed. Something beyond reason is needed. Something absurd, something mad - only that can bring you out. All great masters have been devising things - their devices are absurd. If you think about them you will miss. You have to follow their line without any reasoning. That’s why philosophy is not of much use. Only religion can be of help - religion is absolute madness.

Tertullian has said, “I believe in God because God is absurd.” There is no reason to believe in it - is there any reason to believe in God? Has anyone ever been capable of proving that God exists? There is no reasoning which can support it - hence faith. Faith means the absurd. Faith means no reason to believe and you believe. Faith means no arguments, no proofs to prove, and you put your whole life at stake. Nobody can prove that God is, and you take the jump into the abyss. Anyone who is reasonable will feel that you have gone mad, and that’s how all rationalists have always been feeling. A Buddha, a Krishna, a Jesus - they have gone mad, they are talking nonsense.

There is a whole school in the West which proves that all of religion is nonsense. And I am a religious man and I say they are right - for the wrong reasons they are right. They think that if you prove that religion is nonsense, that you have discounted religion, refuted it. No!

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